Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gnocchi with brown butter garlic


Do you have a recipe that you are just scared of? Well, gnocchi is mine. I have never tried it, but have heard so many horror stories.

I didn't have much of an issue, to be honest. The only thing I really struggled with was trying to make them into little "C" shapes with the tines of a fork. That part wasn't so successful. But, my gnocchi were light and fluffy.

I chose to bake my potatoes. Since I had heard that one of the biggest dangers of gnocchi is moisture, and I live in a fairly rainy climate, I decided to try to do some moisture control from the beginning.

I got this recipe from a cool site - 101cookbooks.com. It seemed to be the most straight forward. I created the sauce on my own, since I have had gnocchi in brown butter and sage sauce before, I tried it with garlic, since, well, I love garlic. It was really great.

This recipe serves 6-8, so don't be too scared by the amount of butter in the sauce.

Gnocchi - Recipe adapted from 101cookbooks.com

2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup eggs (this is about 1 1/2 large eggs)
1 t. salt
1 cup flour (more or less)

Bake russet potatoes until fully cooked (350 for about 90minutes, or 6-8 minutes in the microwave). Cool slightly, peel, and run through a ricer. I used the larger plate on my ricer. If you don't have one, lightly mash potatoes on your working surface. Be careful to not overwork the potatoes.

Cool potatoes until they are just slightly above room temperature. Pour lightly beaten eggs over your potatoes on a cutting board or work surface. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour and the salt over the eggs and potatoes, and gently begin incorporating the eggs and flour into your potatoes, adding more flour until the dough is uniform and just a bit moist but not sticky. Separate into 8 sections.

When I was mixing and kneading the dough, I found that my metal dough scraper was invaluable to this. My dough got really sticky, and required quite a bit of flour - about 1 1/4 cups.

Roll each of the sections into a uniform rope about the same width as your finger. Cut into 1" pieces. Dust with some more flour. To shape the gnocchi (my least successful step), roll the gnocchi gently on the tines of a fork, shaping into a small "C" with the imprint of the fork on the outside. As I practiced this technique more, I discovered it was easier if I cleaned the fork periodically as well as held the fork off my cutting board while I was shaping.

While you are shaping the dough, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. After shaping, place gnocchi in boiling water. I did this in about 8 batches. You need to be careful to not crowd the gnocchi so they don't stick together. They are done when they float, remove to a plate and make your sauce!

Brown Butter Garlic Sauce

1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Gnocchi, from above

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Continue heating butter until a light brown color. Add garlic, and saute until garlic is softened. Remove garlic from butter. Remove enough butter from the pan until just 1/8" remaining. Add gnocchi into butter, covering the bottom of the pan. You may need to do a few batches. Don't add gnocchi if it doesn't touch the bottom of the pan. Fry the gnocchi in the butter until lightly browned. Remove to heated serving dish. Repeat, adding browned butter when needed. Serve sprinkled with the reserved garlic.

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